By blog on Mar. 15, 2010.
I’ve spent about two hours playing Final Fantasy XIII so far, and here’s what I think of them.
Okay so I know that two hours into an RPG is, well, hugely inadequate to get a real handle on the game, but that’s not what I’m doing here. I’m going to be doing a few posts on this game, and how I’m feeling about it, every now and then. This is one of the ‘now’ posts, so it’s early on in the game, the the ‘then’ posts will be much further into it.
Alright, let’s see, where to begin? Well, the opening cinematic was beautiful, and played out really nicely. No hitches in it on my system, and with the HDMI cable, it really is very pretty. The story is set up within this first sequence and is actually intriguing, which is nice. You first start off playing as Lightning, a typically taciturn character who’s not really letting anyone in at this stage. The other initial character you meet is Sazh, who’s quite funny in his own way, and has a Chocobo hanging out in his hair. That’s sort of disgusting, but that baby Chocobo is very cute. It’s irritating that the American voice actor says ‘cho-co-bo’ when I’ve always called them ‘Cho-cowe-bo’ as in, that centre ‘co’ rhymes with ‘owe’, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine.
Next you meet Snow and his group, who come across as all a bit silly. The characters are mildly interesting at this stage, and a little irritating, but it’s too early to tell where precisely they’ll go with them. One hopes there are some unexpected character developments, because if it’s clichéd as well as very linear then I’ll be rather disappointed.
As for all the criticism of that game? Well, that’s actually quite warranted. You really are forced down a track – a narrow one at that – at this point in the game, and whilst I do understand that the first five or so hours of a game like this you’ll often be forced down a track, I do remember Oblivion gives you freedom to roam less than an hour into the game.
I am enjoying the game, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes, but I’m also cautious about expecting too much from the game. I’m really hoping that this ‘accessibility’ trend in the gaming industry – read: dumbing games down so any schmo can pick it up and play without having to, oh God, don’t say the bad word, LEARN something – will die down soon. I’m not saying I want to see the complex levelling system of FFX back, but nor do I want to go backwards in terms of game content just so they can ship a few more units.
By blog on Feb. 21, 2010.
Some people are already starting in on Final Fantasy XIII, but are their concerns warranted?
Fans of the series are eagerly snapping up any piece of info they can about the soon to be released Final Fantasy XIII, but not everything they’ve read has sat well with them. On the game’s official website, one of the creators has talked about the linearity of the first half of the game, saying that it’s largely story-driven and you don’t get to run around exploring until you’re in the second half. It’s an attempt to get players invested in the story and very familiar with the new game mechanics.
I’ll say right now that I’m no stranger to having a go at a game before I’ve played it. I panned the crap out of Fable 3 just the other day, but I’m a little less inclined to do that with the Final Fantasy series. One major difference is that the Final Fantasy series has really established itself, there have been no failures in the series so far, no games that just weren’t up to par, though sure, some people favour certain iterations over others, but none of the games have been bad or poor.
Okay so what am I thinking about this? Well, one of the major issues that fans are angry about – I’m speaking based on comments on sites like IGN – is that there aren’t any towns to explore, and whilst I understand that, those extra towns just wouldn’t fit in with this story line. The first half of the game takes place in Cocoon, a paradise city built for humans that floats in sky above the planet Pulse. Now, the people of Cocoon don’t visit the surface of the planet, ever. Heck, most of them have never even seen it! So how would it make sense to have extra towns for people to explore?
Well, you could argue that the story could have been structured differently so that there were towns to explore, but I think that if you’ve got a good story, go with it. Changing things like this could be the inspiration the creators needed to make an especially good Final Fantasy game.
Another issue many are having with this particular Final Fantasy is the linearity, the fact that players are driven by storyline for the first half of the game before they’re given free reign. Now, I can understand that that’s a long time, but on the other hand Japanese RPGs are usually like this to some extent, you’re guided for longer, but the story line is usually quite in depth, so it’s worth it. I do like that it will give players a long time to get used to the new Paradigm mechanic, but mostly I am just trusting in the franchise at this point on this particular point, and I’m fine with that, Square Enix has earned it.
Oh, and how funny is it that we are now up the thirteenth ‘Final Fantasy?
By blog on Sep. 10, 2009.
The game is set to ship to our shores mid next year, but that’s a while off, and for the moment, I can talk about impressions about the game so far.
The storyline is set around the expulsion of a race, called the fal’Cie, by humans, from a floating paradise like city called Cocoon. Originally the fal’Cie created Cocoon for humans, but thirteen centuries later, humans are scared of the fal’Cie, because some of them can become l’Cie, which are people with special destinies, which if they don’t fulfil, become Cie Corpses, which are big scary monsters. The humans are trying to force the fal’Cie to move back to the surface of the planet, called Pulse, which has strange effects on people and the governing body of Cocoon, the Theocratic Sanctum, have a staunch quarantine that anyone who’s been to the surface of Pulse can’t get back into Cocoon.
The story centres around a few characters, which all happen to become l’Cie, even though they didn’t want that to happen, and their fight against the army, called PSICOM, to stop them purging Cocoon of the fal’Cie.
The story line is intriguing, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out. There is a demo and a couple of trailers available to watch here on IGN, which show the game to be just amazing. The most impressive visuals on an RPG yet, in my opinion, and the transition between cut-scene and in-game is startlingly similar.
It’s nice to see the good ol’ Eidolons back, with Odin, Shiva, Ifrit, and Carbuncle, and apparently, not only their respective summoning scenes are amazing, but you can also combine your character with their Eidolon to get some form of… transportation that can do damage during battles. Odin becomes a horse like creature that his summoner, Lightning, can ride, whilst Shiva is actually summoned in the form of two sisters, Nix and Styria, and they turn into a motorcycle that their summoner, Snow, can ride. Carbuncle is summoned by Vanille, and he turns into a disc, and Ifrit, who is summoned by Sazh, turns into a hotrod racing car.
I really can’t wait to get my hands on this game, do yourself a favour and check out those videos on IGN.
By blog on Jul. 31, 2009.
Now the second part of my last post.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger: This game looks fantastic! Very unique look to the game, with some amazing characters. I’m excited to play off against my SO and learn my way around all the interesting characters. It’s nice to see a fighting game where so much effort has been put into the backgrounds, as well as non-generic characters. I like the complexity of the fighting mechanic too, button mashing will only get you so far.
Soulcalibur IV: Another fighting game, but one that I am more familiar with. I’ve always found these games to be very entertaining, and a nice divergence from the norm to be able to fight in these sorts of games with weapons. I think this is the only fighting game where you really get to use a weapon, and the game has always been really slick. You can button mash to a small extent, but in the end you do need to learn the controls of the game to really excel. It’s nice to see the old characters we know so well, with a few new ones thrown in there too. Darth Vader makes an appearance in the PS3 version, and apparently is good to fight with… not as ridiculously over-powered as Yoda in the 360 version.
Metal Gear Solid 4: This game looks amazing; it has been called one of the best games of all time. I’m very impressed by the graphics, as well as the story-line. I respect where the franchise has taken the main character, and like this fond farewell to him. I find the story of the entire world to be a war-zone thanks to PMCs to be very interesting, and look forward to see how it all plays out.
Final Fantasy XIII: The Final Fantasy series is one that has well and truly stood the test of time. I’ve enjoyed every iteration of the game that I have played, and I am really looking forward to the release of this one. The trailer looks amazing, and the voice acting seems to be quite good. The story is intriguing, and I am really happy to see the good old GFs included. This game is set to ship later this year.
There are other games out there that look amazing for this console, but these are the ones I am most interested in right now.
By blog on Jul. 30, 2009.
I think it is now time for a PS3. I’ve waited for a while before getting one, mainly because the price was ludicrous to begin with, but it’s come down now and I think it’s quite fair.
I’ve been an Xbox 360 and PC Gamer for a long time now, mainly PC for the last few years, but before that, I had an Xbox and then an Xbox 360 as well. Before that I had a PlayStation, but I went the way of Xbox instead of moving onto a PS2, as the hardware was much better. Now, though, I want to get back into console gaming. PC gaming is great, there is often a good range, the Real Time Strategy games can’t be beaten, and there are other benefits to the PC, but there is the bugginess that often plagues PC games. I own Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Far Cry 2, for instance, and can’t play any of them due to bugginess.
When I do get the console, I am interested in a few games specifically. I’ve no doubt there are others out there I would want to play, and I’m sure that there are games on the horizon that I’m not aware of but would want to play, but for now, here are three of the six games that have most caught my eye.
Little Big Planet: This is a rather unusual console game, because not only is it a rather nice looking platformer, it also allows players to create their own levels, and share them on the online community, where they can download other people’s created levels and play them. It looks like a lot of fun, and very unique, and Sack Boy is a fun little mascot that diverges from the norm.
Ninja Gaiden Sigma: Whilst this is a re-release of an original title, the game nonetheless looks amazing. It is somewhat off putting that the game is not really giving any new gameplay, that you will be re-playing an old game with better graphics, but it was a good game originally so I do look forward to playing it again. There is some new gameplay, being able to play as Rachel seems like a nice change of pace for a short while, but I am just really looking forward to flipping around as a Ninja.
Infamous: This is a game that looks like a heck of a lot of fun. It has that comic book vibe, but isn’t based on a comic in existence, which means that it can be designed to work in game-form, rather than comic-form. It is set in a sand-box style city, and you play a character who has recently gained special abilities which all revolve around the use of electricity. I like the karma aspect of the game, where your decisions make an obvious difference. When you’re closer to the Hero side, your electric attacks are blue and white, and when you are closer to the Infamous side, your attacks are red and black.
Before this entry becomes enormous, I’m going to move onto a second post.